Customer SatisfactionDo you know how your business is doing? No, not how you think it’s doing, but how it’s really doing, according to everyone who does business with you every day? There could be a huge difference between the two, and if you’re not out there asking people what they think, you could be in a world of hurt.

How so? While your business is probably doing 99% fine, that 1% can sneak up on you completely unexpectedly. This won’t cripple your business right away; rather, it can slowly deteriorate relationships with your clients. If you find out what’s wrong beforehand, though, you could save yourself a lot of headaches.

Why You Should Ask Soon

Let’s say you run a freelance photography business. You started out really strong, but over the years you’ve let your quality slip a bit. It’s not a lot – but your clients have started to notice, especially ones you’ve worked with for a long time.

If nobody says anything, you’ll have no idea anything is wrong. You assume, like most business owners, that the wheels are nice and greased so there’s no problem. However, if there is a real slip in quality, it won’t go unnoticed forever.

Eventually somebody could lodge a real complaint and demand you redo an entire shoot. To you, this totally came out of nowhere. After all, nobody said anything, so why would you assume there was a problem?

If you ask for feedback, though, you could find out well in advance your quality is slipping. Perhaps you’re not as worried about focus or lighting as you once were. Whatever the case, it’s about to be a problem.

How to Get Good Opinions

A great practice that the best large companies, such as Apple and Southwest, use is to survey and track their Net Promoter Score (NPS). An NPS score is a simple question that asks customers if they’d recommend your product or service. Basically, it isn’t just about plain, old, boring “satisfaction” – if they will actually put their reputation on the line and recommend you to someone else, there is the gold.

The question is typically as follows:

“How likely are you to recommend [your business’s] product or service to a friend or colleague? On a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being extremely likely and 0 being not likely. Your NPS score is then your percentage of 9+ 10 (who really loves you) minus the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6’s (who doesn’t like you).

But the real key is to ask them why they rated you this way. That is where all the insight is – that is how you can start improving your service and Wow-ing them. If you’ve already got a great score, congratulations but we’re sure that you’ll still get good nuggets of what to keep doing and what to stop doing.

Survey tools like SurveyMonkey make it easy and inexpensive to get feedback quickly.

When is the last time you asked a client for feedback? How did it go?

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